Shane Reilly-Rogers

Give Kids the World's Second Logo, emphaisizing the lighthearted and child-orientated village.

On Saturday October 20 Team Gaia paid a visit to Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization located in the heart of Florida that allows kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families to visit all of the attractions of central Florida, including Disney and Universal completely free to them. However, it went above and beyond just that. The actual location where the children and their families stay is an amazing attraction in itself. From the building Shaped like a Giant Cupcake, to the Castle, to the unique Villas the families stay in, and of course, the Ice Cream Palace, the Give Kids the World Village creates an amazing experience for children and their families and has 102 Villas to house families in and the ability to accommodate any need the child may have. Give Kids the World works in coordination with wish granting organizations to help children with the dream to visit the attractions that Florida has to offer as soon as possible, bringing some kids in at as short of notice as Twenty-Four hours. Henri Landwirth’s dream of giving every child the chance to enjoy the same things as everyone else was realized in 1986 when Give Kids the World was Founded. Many Major corporations ensure that Give Kids the World can continue to answer the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases and even expand their capacity to service more families. Even though major corporations play a very large role in the continued success of Give Kids the World, it couldn’t all happen without the help of the amazing volunteers. Give Kids the World fills over 1000 volunteer positions a week, naming these helpers “Angels” for the wonderful work that they are doing. These “Angels” include young children to senior citizens, from high school teenagers to the parents of children who had their wishes fulfilled at Give Kids the World and now Team Gaia has been lucky enough to spend time helping to put smiles on the faces of children who have faced such hardships at so young of an age.
Just going and volunteering at Give Kids the World was an amazing experience for me and the rest of Team Gaia, seeing kids happily running around and playing within the village with other kids who share many of the same worries and hardships as they have. Many parents described how nice it was to just get away from all of the worries and just be in a place where everyone knows what they are going through and their children can fit in and just be a normal kid. Give Kids the World arranges for all needs of the families and insures that the trip doesn’t cost them a thing so that any family with a child in need can come and have a magical week. All children who come to have their wishes filled are given a star to write their names on and give to the “Star Fairy” who places them on the ceiling of the castle. Over 70,000 shining stars cover the ceiling of the magical Castle of Miracles, organized by month and year the stars allow the children to leave a piece of themselves in the amazing village of Give Kids the World.
After many of the kids had left the village for the day to go to various amusement parks, Team Gaia was given a tour of the Park by Norma Miller, a parent whose first time visiting the park was to fill the wish of her daughter and now volunteers up to 7 days a week at the park with whatever they need. She was more than happy to give us a walking tour of the Village, despite the light rain that had fallen on the village, everything was still in full swing in doors. Norma was more than happy to share her stories of the village and hear about our stories with helping children, including our trip to Waveland, Mississippi. Norma, having been a foster parent and adopting her last foster child was very appreciative of Team Gaia’s work with the foster kids in Waveland, explaining to us that as simple of a gesture as bringing toys for their children for Christmas can mean the world when the Parents are faced with such troubling hardships.
I believe that Team Gaia as a group and us as individuals have grown stronger through this experience and I am glad that I have what I have but I still get a chance to see how the other half lives so that one day I can offer my help like Henri Landwirth and the thousands of volunteers at Give Kids the World have done.


Several countries have recently lowered their voting age to 16, including Brazil and Austria. On the other-hand Iran has recently raised theirs up to 18, bringing them to bar with America. Why, in a country where kids receive free education, do we feel that kids aren’t informed enough to vote? Children in america are now expected to do more and more, with college level classes available at young ages, kids as a majority are more and more educated at younger and younger ages, so why can’t they vote at a younger age? A large argument is that most of the 16-17 year olds won’t vote anyways, but few young people vote to begin with, so why not give the power to more kids and then more kids will be showing up to vote, just because all of the kids won’t come out to vote doesn’t mean that the few who would should be denied the privilege. In addition isn’t the whole point of democracy that the people decide? So does someone become a person when they turn 18? Is it not true that laws affect today’s youth as well as the today’s adults?
Does the government really care about kids? Or only “people” that can vote? Maybe today’s youth would be better off if they were voting for what they wanted, instead of waiting until they are too old to remember what they wanted and they only know what the government wants.

Inspired by: Sixteen Candles, but Few Blazing a Trail to the Ballot Box

Sean Connery As James Bond
On July 17 of 2007, George W. Bush issued an executive order “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq”. Under this order any persons who threaten the peace and stability of Iraq or the Iraqi Government. All of this seems fine and dandy, people who try to mess up Iraq get their Assets frozen, but thats not all that it does, it also applies to people who are “undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people”.

So now, anti war protest can result in the blocking of your property, but is Bush just falling in line with other presidents during times of war? The Sedition Act of 1918 made it illegal to speak any protest about a war at all, lest you be thrown in jail for up to 20 years. Eugene V. Debs was thrown in jail for 10 years for making a speech that undermined military recruitment.

How far with this Executive order carry? Will T-Shirts, bumper-stickers, and Anti-War keychains become punishable by the blocking of your property?

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq


Obesity, America’s “Epidemic”, brought on by our own choice of life style. The world is moving a mile a minute and if you aren’t moving with it, your going to be left behind, you’ve got to have everything right now, and you definitely can’t wait to get something healthy, you’ll take what you can get now, even if it means that your eating a tub of fat with a little bit of pesticide soaked lettuce on top that you’ll probably just throw away anyways. Where did this idea come from? From ourselves of course. The whole Nation has become brainwashed without even realizing it, but how can we blame the masses, being hit by an estimated 3000 advertisements a day how can they avoid being convinced that they need to eat under the Golden Arches and buy all they need at the Super Center.

But, how can you live up to what you see in the advertisements, how can you maintain that healthy body, that perfect skin while your biting into a big chunk of Hormone-grown meat between two pieces of preservative-filled bread, all topped off with a dash of sesame seeds. The media constantly tells people what they should look like, but then shoves things in their faces that it cannot handle, but now we have an answer! Plastic Surgery. You weren’t born the way you wanted to be? Not your problem anymore, just a little snip snip and your however you want to be.

11.5 million cosmetic surgical and not surgical procedures were performed in 2005. People can not longer accept themselves because of the advertisements that have been thrown at them their whole lives, they think they need to change and be different. There is a growing increase in the number of cosmetic surgeries in all areas a large one being Teen boys getting surgery done to reduce the size of their chests. Because of the attitude that if you don’t look perfect you shouldn’t be seen, many boys are now getting surgery done to achieve the more perfect body.

In short, I find it disgusting that people are so ridiculed for the way they look, especially when it is something that they are not able to change.

Plastic Surgery Statistics

Corn Field

In many third world countries the poor cannot afford to eat and therefore are very underweight, but in The United States it is different. This is because the government is subsidizing foods that are used in making high-calorie foods rather than in foods that help people keep the fat off, like fruits and vegetables. This is because the government subsidizes foods like corn, soybeans, and wheat, which are used to get oils and fats to make high-calorie foods.
Recently, several Congressional representatives undertook a “Food Stamp Challenge” in which they spent only 21 dollars a week on food, 3 dollars a day, which is equivalent to what the average person on food stamps lives off of. The Congressmen found that it was very hard to live off so little money and that it was much easier to buy high-calorie foods.
It is expected that there will be a new Food Bill soon and if so a change in the subsidized foods to include more Fruits and Vegetables could do well to further the overall health of the population and take a great step in preventing obesity.

For more information on the food subsidies visit:
The New York Times
For more information about the Senator food challenge please visit:
The Food Stamp Challenge
The Colbert Report

Chicken Eggs

KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken, in the days of care free eating, before mass food marketing caused an increase in obesity, “Kentucky Fried” would have meant that you were getting a good old down-home cooked meal, but now a-days it means that your getting a one way ticket to an artery clogged heart attack.

But, the ever-adapting mass food industry has come up with a new ploy, following in Suit of the recent New York Ban, KFC has changed frying oils in order to bring home a 0 grams Trans-fat chicken menu. This new reduction of Trans-fat can hopefully not only lead other restaurants to not only change their stores in New York, but their stores Nation wide, like KFC has done.

But, does this eradication of Trans-fat make up for KFC’s undesirable treatment of their chickens? Or is it just a Red Herring to throw everyone away from the issue? As we should praise KFC for getting rid of the Trans-fat we should not lighten up on their need to reform their way of handling Chickens, if we are going to breed them only to die to keep us fat and happy, they might as well enjoy what short life we have given them.

For more information of KFC’s change in Trans-fat visit their website at Kentucky Fried Chicken
For more information on KFC’s harmful treatment of animals please visit Kentucky Fried Cruelty

So, I think that we’ve all seen the commercials with the people going “I have Genital Herpes,” but it really didn’t hit me how easily herpes can be spread. It is usually spread when someone has an outbreak, where sores appear that transfer the virus through the broken skin, but they can also be transferred through small breaks in the skin that people do not even realize are there. Not only that, but Type 1 herpes can be spread orally.

I was reading some information from the Center for Disease Control about herpes and I didn’t really think about some of the effects it can have. I mean, we all know that its pretty gross and that it’s contagious, but I found out that it can actually help spread HIV because of the open sores. Not only that, but I didn’t even consider the psychological effect it would have on people who know they have it.

All in all, I think that we picked a good topic to try to inform people about, because I’m learning that those health courses in school may not have given all the facts that teens – and adults – need to know.

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